Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fondling Fabric

It was very cold here (central New Jersey) this weekend, making a perfect excuse to say inside and quilt.  I finished Flying Falcons, tidied up the sewing room, and began pulling fabric for the next project. 

I already knew what I wanted to do so it was just a matter of selecting the fabric, ironing it, and getting out the rotary cutter, ruler, and mat. 

This will be another Fig Tree Harvest project.  Here is my fabric palette:

Sometimes I think going through my fabric stash and selecting what to use in the next project is my favorite part of quilting!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Flying Falcons, aka Point Me Quilt

I finished my version of Point Me, a quilt design by Denyse Schmidt. 

I used the school colors, blue and gold, because I intend it to be a future school auction quilt. 
Happily, the blocks went together more easily than I anticipated.  And once the pieced blocks are together, the rest of the quilt is a cinch!  Now to get it quilted; I think the texture from the quilting will add a lot to the look of this quilt.
I can think of only one other quilt I've made with so little piecing and that's this quilt called Nosegay.  Nosegay is a great design to use when you want to showcase a favorite large floral print.
It is basically a central piece of fabric surrounded by two borders in coordinating florals, and the outer border is scalloped.  This design would make a great baby quilt, especially in a cute conversational fabric.
I'll end with these photos of Dillie.  If you recall, Dillie (Lady Dilys of Downton Abbey) is Corgi #2 in our household.  She joined us last July, six months ago.  She is not an easy dog to photograph because she runs toward the camera whenever she sees it.  Most photos look something like this. 
But after the photography session for the quilt, she agreed to pose (for seconds!) and I got this better shot.  She is eight months old now and looks like an adult Corgi, though she may grow a little bigger.  She stays busy, keeping Reggie (Corgi #1) on his toes.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Point Me Geese Blocks

I've finished four of the seven pieced flying geese blocks for Point Me.

These blocks are more tricky to make than they look.  Despite cutting the mini triangles so the straight of grain lies on the bottom (long) side of the triangle, they still tend to stretch a bit.  I am having to be very careful when I press the seams (press, not iron!), but still, I will need to do a bit of "stretch and ease" when it comes time to sew the blocks together.  Of course, once that is done, the rest of the quilt will be easy peasy!
I am looking forward to a sewing filled weekend.  It is too cold to go anywhere. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Plan C...or Point Me by Denyse Schmidt Quilts

Finally, the pattern I ordered arrived!  I bought this pattern from an eBay seller, but the slowness is not the seller's fault as tracking provided by USPS indicates it took 13 days for this first class letter to get to NJ from CA!

I'd seen this online and liked the graphic simplicity.  And I thought it would work well as a two-color quilt. 

I cut out the fabric for the triangle blocks.  In the directions, Denyse Schmidt suggests using a design wall to lay out the triangles and then sew from the layout to keep it all in the correct order.  I used one of my batting covered block boards instead because I can keep it on the table next to my sewing machine, avoiding jumping up and running back and forth between sewing machine and design wall.  So far, so good, though the block board is not quite big enough so I had to place the two outermost triangles at the bottom.
And here is the finished triangle block.  I need 7, maybe 8, of these triangles for the quilt.  After that, putting the quilt together should be pretty quick.  I might even finish it by this time next week.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Paris Flea Market Quilts

With the re-release of the Paris Flea Market line by Moda, I thought now would be a good time to show you what I made out of it when originally released.

This quilt is French Roses, from a pattern of the same name,  The pattern does not have sashing but I added it for a more traditional look.  The roses are layers of fabric, appliqued using the raw edge method.  In this case, they are sewn a quarter inch from the edge of the fabric, with the expectation that the edges will fray and become soft.  It is an easy pattern and fairly forgiving. 

Here's a closer look.  Some of the fabric, including the border, came from a later 3 Sisters collection called Seaside Rose.
This next quilt is not at all scrappy, using just three fabrics for the top.  In the photos, the pink in the sashing looks too dark but it actually matches the darkest pink in the floral print.
The blocks are set on point, with setting triangles then the border.
Here's a little boudoir pillow (it is 12" by 16", not including the ruffles).  The ballet pink floral ticking stripe is one of my favorite prints from the Paris Flea Market line.  I still have a lot left.  The center panel of the pillow is from a heavier weight fabric that was included in the original collection, but from what I've seen online, I don't think Moda is re-releasing it this time.  It is more of a light home decor fabric than for quilting.
Back to current projects later this week!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wish Book

A new Hancock's of Paducah catalog arrived in the mail yesterday.  They call it volume 60 but I call it the Wish Book.

Inside are pages and pages (167 to be exact) of fabric to order from the Hancock's website.  They carry all the quilt store brands and the catalog is good way to see the latest lines in their entirety and plan out future projects, even if they stay mental and never become physical realities.  So many quilts to make, so little time to sew!
I have dog-earred a few pages so I can refer back later.  I particularly like this sampler quilt in blue called Blue Saturday Soire.  I think it was conceived of as a block-of-the-month but Hancock's is selling it as a kit.  Must think about this!
There are two pages devoted to the reprint of the Paris Flea Market line by 3 Sisters for Moda, one of my all time favorites.  Hancock's is offering a kit for Paris Flea Market Finds quilt in two sizes.  This turns out to be an It's Sew Emma pattern.  I'm mulling over this one too as perhaps a good use for my hoarded cache of the original Paris Flea market line.  I will need to augment my stash to make this quilt though.
If you would like your own Wish Book, go here to sign up or call Hancock's of Paducah at 800-845-8723.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Trying Plan B

If you remember my post of a week ago, I was working on a quilt for the school auction fundraiser this spring.  I had something up on my design wall but was not happy with it.  After mulling it over, I came up with some alternatives, Plan B using the flying geese I'd already made, and Plan C involving a new start with a new pattern.  I was most enthused about Plan C so ordered the pattern.  But 10 days later, it still had not arrived (according to the tracking data provided by the seller, it is still sitting in the post office where it was mailed) so I decided to give Plan B a try.

Here it is so far, and I'm quite happy with it.  No more scrappy blues.  Just the flying geese around a central panel of plain fabric (all the blue is Kona cotton in Nightshade).  I'm planning to add an outer border using the same blue fabric. 

This version has the bold, graphic look I was going for.  I think it's a go, though I will probably tackle the "Plan C" pattern if and when it arrives here.
The flying geese are 3" by 6" finished; the final quilt will be 54" by 69" which is a generous size for a throw. 
I'm glad I admitted I was not happy with my original effort and stopped spending more time on it.  But that's my new philosophy of quilting.  It is my hobby, I'm supposed to enjoy it, and when I don't enjoy what I'm making, I can stop and turn to something else.  No fretting about UFOs; I'm calling them experiments from now on.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Lollipop Bag from Atkinson Designs

With my current quilting project stalled (see previous post), I decided to experiment with bag making.  Here's the outcome:

It's the Lollipop Bag from Atkinson Designs.  This is the smaller of the two sizes in the pattern, comes out 8" by 4", with a bottom base about 2" wide.  It is a good size for carrying makeup in your purse or tote and could probably hold some smaller tech items (or sewing suppliers, or rotary cutters, or ...).  The pattern also includes a larger size, made in the same way.  Both sizes call for two fat quarters of fabric, but you could use scraps or leftovers instead.

The pattern is very easy to follow and I really like the way the bottom of the bag is formed, so that the bag stands on its own. Instead of the fusible fleece that the pattern calls for, I used scraps of batting, which worked out fine and seem to provide both the cushioning and stiffening needed. 
The directions for the zipper were easy to follow.  It helps to have a zipper foot for your sewing machine.  The handle is a little too long; maybe you don't need a handle at all, depending on the intended use. 
The pattern includes directions for the rosette trim (in two sizes); I might make the rosette again to use on something else.
If you are in need of a little zip bag, I recommend the Lollipop Bag. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Moving On To Plan B, or Plan C

My daughter attends the same independent high school where my husband teaches and each year, I have made a quilt in the school colors to donate to the Parents Association Auction.  Here are a couple examples from prior years. 

The school mascot is the falcon so I want to do something with flying geese blocks.  This is what I have on my design wall so far but I am not loving it. 

The geese finish at 3" by 6", the same size as the blue rectangular blocks which I have arranged like bricks or subway tile.  I need to cut more "tiles" to fill in the empty spots if I am going to finish this but I am seriously considering moving on to Plan B.   Plan B involves a different arrangement for the flying geese, where they would form a border around a plain center.  I have about 80 of the flying geese made, which I think will be enough for that plan.  

But then there is Plan C.  I found a pattern online, ordered it, and am awaiting its arrival in the mail (should be this week).  If I go with either Plan B or C, the pieces I cut from the blue fabric can be put to another use (I'm thinking string quilt).

Decisions, decisions.  Stay tuned for an update.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday Find - Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark

I stumbled across the recipe for Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark on Pinterest and decided to give it a try.  WOW!  It has been my indulgence over the holiday.  I've made it five times and given some as gifts, packaged in holiday tins.  It is easy to make and really worth a try.

My own photo; clearly I am not a food stylist.
Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
I cup brown sugar
Half of a large bag of small pretzel twists
12 oz bag chocolate chips
Sea salt (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a jelly roll pan (or other pan with a small lip) with foil.  (The pan needs to fit in your freezer.  If you have a narrow freezer, use two smaller pans.)  Spread pretzels in a single layer on the foil. 
Melt butter and sugar together in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly.  Let mixture come to a boil and bubble for about one minute.  The butter and sugar will mix together and become a uniform color.  Pour over pretzels, then place pan in oven to bake for five minutes.  Remove from oven, turn oven off and sprinkle chocolate chips over top of caramel/pretzel layer.  Return pan to warm oven for about a minute to soften chips.  Remove from oven and use spatula to spread chocolate more evenly.  Sprinkle chocolate lightly with sea salt.  This is optional; don’t use too much or it will taste too salty because of the salt already on the pretzels.
Let pan cool on counter than place in freezer for at least three hours to harden.  Once it is hard, remove from foil and break into pieces with your hands.  This is best kept in the refrigerator or the caramel becomes too soft.
It has all the major food groups:  butter, sugar, salt, and chocolate, and the combination is truly yummy!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My Plans for 2013

I can't help it; I'm a planner.  2012 was to be the year of the Fig Tree Harvest, but with all the Fig Tree Quilts fabric I have, it will be a multi-year effort.  Pinterest enthusiast that I am, I've started a board as a sort of to-do list for 2013.  I'm using it to pin inspiration that I want to get to right away, not just sometime in the distant future.  First up, as soon as I finish the school auction quilt, will be a kaleidoscope quilt of some sort, probably using Fig Tree fabric. 

What are your plans for 2013?